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Healthy Eating While Traveling

By Abby Henry Singh October 9, 2019Pearls of Wisdom Blog

Traveling can make it more difficult for you to eat well. Your options for healthy, nutritious foods may be limited. By planning ahead, you can still eat well when you are away from home. Whether you are traveling for vacation, work or treatment, follow these strategies to eat well and stay energized during your trip.

Pack snacks. Make sure that you have plenty of healthy snacks while traveling by packing your own. Here are a few suggestions

  • Rice cakes
  • Trail mix
  • Whole fruit
  • Sting cheese
  • No-sugar-added apple sauce
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Nut butter and crackers.

For more snack ideas, click here.

Use an insulated lunch bag to keep refrigerated items cool. If your travel plans allow for it, use a cooler with ice or freezer packs.

Pack a liquid or gel hand sanitizer to clean your hands before eating if a restroom isn’t available to wash your hands.

Once you arrive at your destination, go to a local grocery store. Grocery stores tend to be less expensive than gas stations or convenience stores. They also have more fresh options such as fruits and vegetables.

Check if your hotel room has a mini fridge or microwave. These appliances will increase your snack options. You can also get ice from the hotel’s ice machine to refill your cooler.

Check the menu. When traveling, you’ll likely be eating at restaurants more than you do at home. Look up menus online in advance to check for healthy options and/or options within the dietary guidelines provided by your healthcare team. Follow these tips

  • Remember to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
  • Look for opportunities to make healthy swaps. For example, ask for a side salad or steamed veggies instead of fries.
  • Choose vegetarian dishes and plant-based proteins such as beans, legumes and tofu.
  • When traveling, especially for vacation, you may be tempted to eat three full restaurant meals a day. Avoid having multiple courses such as appetizers and desserts at every meal.
  • However, don’t deprive yourself. Healthy eating is about moderation. Enjoy a special dessert on vacation!

Eat a good breakfast. When traveling, eat a good breakfast to keep you fueled and energized throughout the day. If your hotel has a continental breakfast, choose fruits, proteins such as hardboiled eggs or low-fat yogurt, and whole grains such as oatmeal. Pastries, muffins and waffles are tempting, but the extra carbohydrates may make you feel tired.

If you are immunosuppressed from cancer treatment, it is best to avoid buffets. You can’t be sure who has touched the food or how long the food has been sitting out. Ask the concierge at the hotel for recommendations for local breakfast places. If possible, you may also want to consider staying in a place with access to a kitchen or kitchenette so you can prepare your own meals following food safety guidelines.

Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated will help you feel more energized throughout your trip. If you are traveling in a warmer climate or walking more than you usually do, you will need to drink more fluids to stay hydrated.

Take an empty, refillable water bottle with you. If flying, after you are through airport security, you can find a water fountain to fill it up instead of buying expensive, plastic bottles of water at the airport.

Flying can also make you dehydrated, another reason to drink more liquids. When flying, skip foods with a lot of salt (sodium) and alcoholic beverages. Both salt and alcohol can contribute to dehydration.


Before traveling ask your healthcare team if it is safe for you travel and if there are any precautions you need to take while traveling.


Additional Resources

Travel Tips for Cancer Patients

Taking Flight with Cancer: Tips for Air Travel

Treatment Day Snacks

Abby Henry Singh

Author Abby Henry Singh

Manger Content, Outreach, and Outcomes Abby Henry Singh is a native of Sevierville, Tennessee, and a graduate of Belmont University with a bachelor’s degree in English and history. She has been a member of PearlPoint Cancer Support for over 5 years. Previously, Singh was the Program and Outreach Manger for the Lupus Foundation of America, Mid-South Chapter where she worked to raise disease awareness and support those diagnosed with the disease through educational programs. She is a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and the Belmont English alumni book club.

More posts by Abby Henry Singh

Join the discussion One Comment

  • I thought it was interesting when you explained that traveling can make it difficult for you to eat. It seems like breakfast would be the most important meal to eat while you are traveling. Breakfast gives you energy, so it might be a good idea to go to some kind of restaurant every morning while you are traveling.

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